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By design: James Clerk Maxwell and the evangelical unification of science

  • MATTHEW STANLEY (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory famously unified many of the Victorian laws of physics. This essay argues that Maxwell saw a deep theological significance in the unification of physical laws. He postulated a variation on the design argument that focused on the unity of phenomena rather than Paley's emphasis on complexity. This argument of Maxwell's is shown to be connected to his particular evangelical religious views. His evangelical perspective provided encouragement for him to pursue a unified physics that supplemented his other philosophical, technical and social influences. Maxwell's version of the argument from design is also contrasted with modern ‘intelligent-design’ theory.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

David W. Bebbington , Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s, London: Unwin Hyman, 1989

Aileen Fyfe , Science and Salvation: Evangelical Popular Science Publishing in Victorian Britain, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004

Abdus Salam , Unification of Fundamental Forces, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990, p. 40

Margaret Morrison , Unifying Scientific Theories, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000

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The British Journal for the History of Science
  • ISSN: 0007-0874
  • EISSN: 1474-001X
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-for-the-history-of-science
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